Prince Charles begins Asia tour in Singapore

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and his wife Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall travel by horse-drawn carriage to arrive on day one of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London, on June 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

Britain's Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrived in Singapore Monday to kick off an Asian tour aimed at cementing relations ahead of a meeting of Commonwealth states next year.

The heir to the British throne and Camilla are undertaking an 11-day trip that will also include stops in Malaysia and India.

British media had said the Foreign Office was originally considering including Myanmar on the tour, despite a military crackdown against the Muslim Rohingya minority, but in the end it was omitted from the couple's itinerary.

After arriving, Charles, wearing a suit in the tropical heat, and Camilla met Singapore athletes who were taking part in the Queen's Baton Relay, which travels around the world ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

On Tuesday Charles and Camilla will receive a ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace, and meet President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

They will lay a wreath at the city's Cenotaph, which honours soldiers who died during World War I and II, and will have an orchid named after them – an honour typically bestowed on dignitaries visiting the city-state.

In the evening the couple will be honoured with a state banquet.

Singapore's foreign ministry said the visit "reaffirms the historic and long-standing relationship between Singapore and the United Kingdom" – the city-state was a British colonial trading post for over a century and formed part of the Straits Settlements with Malacca and Penang.

It won full independence in 1965.

After ending their trip to Singapore on Thursday, the couple will kick off a week-long trip to Malaysia. They will visit Kuala Lumpur, meet with tribespeople on Borneo island before heading to historic George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Charles and Camilla will end their tour with a visit to India, where they will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Commonwealth Summit will take place in Britain in April, with leaders from more than 50 countries expected to attend. – AFP


Recommended stories: